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Old 01-19-2007, 04:58 PM   #1
Joe Marsh
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Just wanted to get this off my chest. I expect no replies. Sorry about the length.

A Brief(?) Venting
CrossFit is my passion. I have come so far since discovering this community. I find the knowledge, openness of the community, and training to be something I was lacking in my training career. I try to bring this passion and dedication to my CrossFit classes in the hopes that my affiliate will grow and get our own home some day. Until that happens, however, my primary source of income is from 1-1 personal training in a big-box gym here in Las Vegas. As it stands, I do not have the client-base and income I would like to have. This gym and situation is where my frustration and stress builds and builds.

Everyday I watch trainers and clients working together, focused on a common goal; namely increasing the clients’ fitness level. I then proceed to watch this couple using non-functional, joint-isolating movements. After the client has finished a set of leg extensions or bicep curls, I notice that the two then spend an inordinate amount of time talking. The client goes into another set and the trainer, rather than be attentive to his client, proceeds to take a call on his cell phone. WTF!?!?! To play devil’s advocate, I do not know what the conversation is about. It could be an emergency for all I know. The length of conversation and apparent demeanor of the trainer would indicate otherwise.

This occurs on a daily basis. The couple goes through the motions of what is perceived to be exercise, and the client is in the same shape as when he/she started a few months ago. How can this occur? How can a client pay a trainer over $50/hour to simply stay the same? How can a trainer honestly think they are doing their job as their client sits there on a machine, while my client is about 50 feet away, completely out of breath from 20 burpees? Has the profession degraded to a point of disregard for the ones who feed the industry?

To be fair, not all trainers here in Vegas are of the same vein. I have seen and met many good trainers since moving to Vegas. I will admit that I was not the greatest trainer when I first started, nor am I the greatest trainer now. What I can tell you is that my clients get every bit of their money’s worth when we train. The “decent” trainers I have met are also giving their clients what they are paying for. It may not be CrossFit, but it is, for the most part, functional.

The most perplexing part of this whole daily routine is that the “lazy” trainers are making a killing! HOW? Can the client not see what is NOT happening?! What drives someone to become complacent in their current, non-productive position? I applaud them for taking the step of hiring a professional in the hopes that that professional can help them, but when that help isn’t delivered as promised, why does one stay? These questions are plaguing me.

While I try to develop my affiliate, I will continue to put my clients through some of the toughest S--- they’ve ever done. They will improve, get better, and make progress. Other couples will see less. I hope that those who see less will notice my client base, take action, and switch for the better.
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Old 01-19-2007, 05:40 PM   #2
Roger Harrell
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Don't worry about what the bad trainers are doing. There are a lot that simply don't care about their clients. There's not a lot you can do about it, except possibly ask management (in a general sense) about it at the big box. Focus on training your clients well and the rest will come together. Learn your craft and people will come.
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Old 01-19-2007, 06:09 PM   #3
Adrian Bozman
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I totally agree with Roger. You'll drive yourself nuts tyring to rationalize the behaviours of others in this profession. There is a huge percentage of trainers in the big box setting that are merely 'filling a slot', like you would expect to find in most other large scale commercial businesses. This is not something they live and breath.

The clients that are worth having will take notice and appreciate your style, or at least find someone who is genuinely there to help. The ones that would rather have a glorified babysitting experience will continue to do so. It is their money, after all.

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Old 01-19-2007, 08:25 PM   #4
Matthew Swift
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Joe,

aw man, don't get me started on this one ...

I rent space in some existing gyms for my personal training clients and share the same frustrations. But there is a great deal of positive and learning to take away from it. I use what I see bad trainers do to put together a template for what a good trainer should do ... here is my template so far:-

1. Keep your eyes on your client, ignore the world
2. Manage time so that clients get every minute they pay for
3. Push boundaries all of the time
4. Do no harm, be biomechanically sound and scale to your clients abilities and goals
5. Never take a phone calls, talk to other trainers or duck off to do something in the middle of a session
6. Talking during a session is for me telling them what to do and counting reps
7. Your client should puff, strain, sweat
8. unless it is full range of motion it doesn't count
9. care about your client, know your client, program for your client

... and the list grows everytime I see an idiot in a PT shirt taking someones money in return for basically flirting with them.

I thought I had seen it all in the field of PT incompetence but yesterday was a new low. I watched a trainer strap hooks to her clients wrists, attach him to the pullup bar, push him up and down allowing him to move through about 20 degrees of range and without having to hold onto the bar, followed by lat pull down still using the hooks, followed by swinging curls, yep you guessed it, using the strap on hooks so the client didn't have to hang on, all to chants of "work it baby, com'n work it for me". WTF??

What we are seeing in Australia is a huge marketing campaign by the franchise PT certification companies that is resulting in a flood of inexperienced poorly trained PT's into the gyms. It makes me embarrassed to call myself a PT. I think the industry will end up destroying itself if it keeps going the way it is.

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Old 01-19-2007, 08:28 PM   #5
Lincoln Brigham
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Not all personal training clients are there to get in better shape. Some want to have the prestige of having their own personal trainer. Some want to use personal training as an excuse to fail - "I hired a personal trainer and nothing happened! See, I tried everything and I'm doomed to be out of shape!" Some want a friend-for-hire. In the big-box gyms, I noticed that 80% of the clients want to own a gym membership and 20% want to workout. It's amazing how many don't understand the difference.

Several potential clients have gotten cheesed off when I tell them all workouts are scored. They don't like the idea of accountability.
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Old 01-19-2007, 09:20 PM   #6
Mike ODonnell
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People who are successful only worry about what they do...not others. I feel sorry for the trainers that lose their passion...and their clients pay for it.
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Old 01-19-2007, 09:32 PM   #7
Steve Liberati
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Keep in mind CrossFit carves out a niche market. Its certainly not for everyone. While I agree with everything you said, let's not lose sight how your average gym goer cannot hack a typical CrossFit workout. With that said, I say let the commercial big box gyms continue to serve the people who are in it for the short term gains, while we as CrossFit trainers/coaches can focus on those in it for the long-term. High quality training tends to attract better quality clients. Definitely feel your frustrations though Joe. At least you'll have good stories to share with your clients and the rest of the CrossFit community.
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Old 01-20-2007, 08:10 AM   #8
Joe Marsh
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Lincoln, I am definitely in agreement with your statements about the "prestige" of having a trainer. This is very apparent here in Vegas. Lots of money to burn, no intention of using it correctly. Like Adrian said it's their money.

Steve, I have stories to last a life time.
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Old 01-20-2007, 12:34 PM   #9
Skip Chase
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Joe,
We all must realize that 99.9% of the free world does not know anything about us nor CrossFit.

As a fitness manager for 24 hour 'weakness', I was transferred to a different club. I was told by my DM that there was a trainer there who was the worst trainer on the planet. But, he had this group of wealthy clients who purchased session pkgs of up to 100 sessions. None of the clients improved, and most of the sessions were just a 'social gathering'. Management didn't care, they only wanted the money he brought in.

Everyone is conditioned to current fitness in America, what coach call 'pop fitness'. It has been the same since the 20's and 30's. The image of fitness was Johnny Weismuller(sp) and Charles Atlas. The 'original' popular bodybuilders. They had little bitty waists and broad shoulders. They were muscular, but not like the bb's of today.

The fitness economy is driven by equipment manufacturers who manufacture weights and machines to perform those single joint movements. Exercise education and certifications are all driven by this same economy.

The average individual gets their fitness info from a magazine. The magazine is published by a fitness equipment company. Same economy.

We are/were all psychologically conditioned to it. Most of us on this board did it! I did. I trained that way. I exercised with those motions.

I, thankfully, found what you found. CROSSFIT. I didn't find it until I was 53!! Be thankful you found it at a much younger age.

Focus on you and your goals. We all must become CF evangelists. We are the only community that has the potential to change the psychological conditioning of the world. (WOOOOO Sounds heavy!)
We have to change the behavior of the world, one client at a time.

When we began our affiliation, I chose to offer 1 week free, knowing the marketplace only knows fitness as we see it. Clubs and equipment performing bb exercises. Great grandpa and grandma, grandpa and grandma, mom and dad, us, our kids. What is fitness to all of us. Club memberships, treadmills, bowflex, soloflex, Jane Fonda, Pilates.....During that first week free, I told them I expected them to attend 3-4 or up to 6 times. I realized it could take more than 1 session to teach them 'there is a different method to become fit and healthy, and this one WORKS!!!' They've been in and out of clubs, have seen the TV commercials advertising crap equipment and read magazine headline and article on 6 minutes abs who knows how many times. I want them to experience CrossFit more than once. If they come 4 times, I have a new member and I am changing their life!! They learned!!! We have all been psychologically conditioned to do what we do. BEHAVIOR. We as CF'ers, have to change the behavior in our community.

We have our work cut out for us. One client at a time. We have to introduce it to them,,the same as it was introduced to us.

Focus on the task. What is YOUR plan and forget about the trash around you.

www.mtbakercrossfit.blogspot.com}
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